People who love their dogs often ask themselves the question, “Should I let my dog sleep with me?” Research shows that a little less than 50% of dog owners share either their bed or their bedroom with their precious pooch. According to Psychology Today, the highest percentage of people found sleeping with their dogs are single females between the ages of 18 and 34. In contrast, married men over 45 are the least likely to let their dog sleep in their bed. Is it bad to sleep with your dog? Depends on who you ask. Many dog owners like the feeling of safety and security they have when their dogs are sleeping with them.
What about Sleep Quality?
Logically, the main concern is, will your sleep quality be better or worse when you are sleeping with a dog in your bed? The Mayo Clinic conducted a study to find out. To make this determination, their study involved 40 adults who slept with a dog in their bed or in their bedroom. Motion tracking devices were then worn by the humans and the dogs. Next, the people answered questions about their sleep quality and where the dogs were in their room.
Results found that those with dogs in their rooms but not in their beds maintained an 83% sleep efficiency. However, those that were sleeping with a dog in their bed had a slightly lower score of 80%. It was shown that people who slept with dogs in their beds woke up more throughout the night than their counterparts.
Nevertheless, Dr. Lois Krahn, a sleep medicine specialist at the Mayo Clinic says that many dog owners find comfort in sleeping with an animal companion, which can equal better sleep for some. However, she notes that when people have multiple pets in their sleeping quarters, this multiplies the possibility that their sleep will be disturbed.
Is Sleeping with Your Pet Safe?
Should you sleep with your dog? PetMD reports health warnings against doing so. MRSA skin infections can be transmitted as well as H1N1 influenza, for example. However, these transmissions are more common in people with suppressed immune systems. On the other hand, they also mention that human family members are much more likely to transmit diseases to each other than our pets getting us sick.
To reduce the health risks associated with letting your dog sleep in your bed, the CDC stresses the importance of regular veterinary care. This includes keeping up to date with vaccinations, treating any illnesses with medications, and preventing fleas and ticks with preventative medicines. This is important because fleas and ticks carry bacteria and diseases that can be transmitted to humans.
The Emotional Comfort Factor
Some researchers feel that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. It has been proven that there are both physical and mental health advantages to owning a pet. Since co-sleeping increases the amount of time spent with your dog, this means that potentially those positive benefits can be increased. Many people appreciate the feeling of comfort and companionship that sleeping with a dog provides. A dog in your bedroom is able to alert you of anything out of the ordinary, and some people will rest better knowing this. Another bonus? Turns out that doggies are perfect for keeping their humans warm on a cold winter night.